I’ve been a fan of poker for a long time. It’s a card game of real skill and one that you can easily improve at if you work hard. The first times I played poker were generally at home: either at my house or at a friend’s.
I spent hours learning which starting hands were valuable, which ones weren’t, and how to play them both. After a while I built up the confidence to go and play in a live casino. It was a great experience. I got to see how people deal with pressure, excitement, and disappointment – including myself.
Because the nearest casino is a quite a drive from me, I couldn’t play as much as I would have liked. That is when I started playing online poker. It’s a much more convenient way of playing poker and I can play for minutes or hours at a time.
Both online poker and live casino poker are great, but there are some key differences between the two. Keeping in mind my experiences, I’ve looked at the most important ones to help you when you’re playing poker.
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You can play multiple tables online
The very first thing I noticed when I began playing online is that you can play multiple tables. It made sense – there’s only one of me, so I can only physically sit down at one table. However, there can be as many online versions of me as I want.
I usually keep to having two tables open online. This is because I find it difficult to concentrate on more games than this. Two tables might not be enough for you, or it might be too much. The important thing is that you have the right amount for you and that you have fun!
People play looser in a casino
The idea of being loose in poker means you play a lot of hands. If you’ve played online poker (maybe on Pokerstars or perhaps at an online casino), you’ll notice people generally play a lot looser in a casino. I’m not sure why this is; it may be because as you’re there, watching events unfold and you get drawn in to the action.
I can see why this happens, as you do feel left out when you’re not in a hand. The difference online is that you can do other things when you’re not playing. You can read articles, or exercise – I like to have my iPad on so that I can watch Mad Men.
People make larger bets in a casino
You won’t be surprised to discover people don’t only play more hands in a casino, they also make larger bets. From my experience, this is for two reasons: inexperience, or from getting an adrenaline rush.
I find it easy to understand the first reason. If you walk into a casino for the first time it can be difficult to keep up with what’s happening. This means you might misread the size of the pot – something which is calculated for you online.
The second reason is also very simple to get. This is because there’s more of a thrill when you’re in a casino – you can see people’s reaction when you win. While it’s still great to win a pot online it just isn’t the same as doing it live.
Games are much slower in a casino
After everything I just said, you might be shocked that I’m now telling you games are actually quicker online. Hear me out though — it makes sense for people to play slower in a casino.
The reason for this is that so much of the game play online is just faster. Your cards are dealt to you quicker and you have a real-time pot size online. But most importantly, you can make quicker decisions online because people aren’t watching you while you play.
You can use tools to track data online
I like to think that I have a good read on people when I play poker. I can look into someone’s eyes, watch their body language and that helps me see their tells. Online you don’t have to worry about that. Why? Because you can use data to track a players habits.
PokerTracker is the software I use. It gives me so much data on a player that I can see if they are loose or tight in a second. This makes it so much easier for me to play when I’m online.
I’m a huge fan of poker and have enjoyed playing it with friends at home, in a casino, and online. If you’re yet to play your first game of poker, I recommend you try it out for yourself. You can use my experiences to decide whether you want to play online or in a casino first. Just remember that the reason to play poker is to have fun!